Of Minor Catastrophes, #WANACon, and #WriteMotivation

So… I haven’t done an update post since February 10th.

It’s been a bit crazy.

I’ll just… give a minor rundown.

You might understand, after you read this, why there’s been pretty much zero progress on my #WriteMotivation goals.

Sometime shortly before Feb 10, the drain in the garage (the one the washing machine, you know, drains into) started… draining sluggishly. So when I’d do laundry, it would overflow onto the garage floor, and with the below freezing temps we’ve been having pretty regularly, I had to limit when I could do laundry so I didn’t turn the garage into an ice rink.

So, let’s start where it all gets fun…

But this is massive, and if you want to skip ahead to WANACon or #WriteMotivation, I won’t blame you. Just click the respective links.

Tues, Feb 11

Enough laundry has piled up where hubby is out of work clothes, and we’re all almost out of underwear and socks. Serena graciously let me come over and do a few loads of laundry at her house that evening. However, since I had moderator training for WANACon that evening as well, I wasn’t able to get to her house until 8 pm or so. I was there until 2 am. I am not built for all-nighters anymore. Not sure I ever really was. I suspect that my exhaustion from this helped trigger the migraine later in the week.

Wed, Feb 12

Made it through the whole day on 4 hours of sleep. This is errand day, so I was running all over town.

Thur, Feb 13

Let the 30-hr migraine commence! It hit me about 3 or 4ish in the afternoon. I took a warm bath in an attempt to alleviate muscle tension in my neck. It did not help.

Also, baby brother turned 24. What sorcery is this?

Fri, Feb 14

Valentine’s Day. I could not function. The act of swallowing made me want to vomit, and my head spun and crackled whenever I tried to move. And could barely choke down tylenol. Which didn’t help anyway. The smell of food also aggravated the nausea.

And light. Light hurt a lot.

The migraine finally started fading about 10 pm Friday night, when I was finally able to relax enough to pass out.

Sat, Feb 15

I woke up AND MY HEAD DIDN’T HURT. IT WAS A GOOD DAY. I was exhausted, though, so I just took things slow. Did dishes, took naps, neatened the office. That sort of thing.

Oh, and I made a Cayenne Pepper Salve. It’s supposed to help with muscle aches, headaches, and migraines. Because capsaicin numbs nerves. I’ll let you know how that goes next time I have a migraine. Which is hopefully never.

Sun, Feb 16

Church. Got home. Took care of chickens. Flipped out when hubby discovered that Ginger (another one of the Rhode Island Red hens) had a laceration from the rooster. She’s molting too – an even more severe molt than Lucy (poor Ginger has pin feathers coming in all over her body, and it hurts. I’m trying not to handle her as much as possible, but I do have to get her with the Vetricyn at least a couple of times a day, and she’s not as people friendly as Lucy). Started making game plans for what to do because Ginger was not going to cooperate with being inside in a dog kennel.

Finally did the taxes. I need the refund two weeks ago…

Mon, Feb 17

Hubby called in sick at work. Suspect he had strep throat.

Had mass frustrations with the Lowe’s website. Was trying to order things for pick-up in store (for a second enclosure to isolate Lucy & Ginger until their feathers finish coming back in), and their entire ordering system was glitchy. I could do everything BUT check-out.

So I went to the store instead. Where I was nearly over-charged for a piece of plywood, and WAS overcharged (by TWENTY DOLLARS) for fencing.

Saw smoke from a grass fire about 10 miles north of the Lowe’s I went to. A lot of smoke.

Chilled with Lissa for a bit, enjoyed the lovely weather outside.

Mom came over that afternoon and helped me start getting the second enclosure together, but we rapidly ran out of energy and daylight.

Tues, Feb 18

Hubby called into work again. He lived in bed.

Mom came over and helped me finish the chicken enclosure. Brother came with her, and helped me with a couple of things around the house that hubby couldn’t help me with that day.

We saw two hawks circling overhead. Wheee. You don’t get my chickens, you nasty hawks.

Lucy and Ginger moved into the small enclosure.

Somehow, I made the menu & grocery list for Wednesday.

Wed, Feb 19

Hubby called into work again. Used the last of his ETO. So much for any stay-cations this summer…

Got up, went to take care of chickens… and discovered Ginger had not gotten up on the roost with Lucy, but had decided to sit on the floor underneath Lucy.

You know what comes out of pretty much every animal butt in existence?

Yeah, it was all over Ginger’s back. And in the OPEN LACERATION.

Spending Wednesday morning giving a chicken a bath – a chicken with an OPEN WOUND, mind you – was not how I’d planned to start my day. And then I discovered that LUCY also had a small laceration (again). This one had likely happened the same day we finally moved them into the enclosure. I just obviously hadn’t moved her soon enough.

The morning pretty much culminated in me calling my mom in tears because I had no more clean clothes – all of my pants were covered, quite literally, in chicken crap – and I couldn’t use the washing machine because I’d managed to break it and make it so it wouldn’t fill.

So mom ended up meeting me along one of my errand stops to retrieve some of my laundry so I could have clean clothes again. Thank you, mom!

And she did research on the washing machine for me… and discovered that it was very simply fixable.

I’d pretty much put the drain hose too close to the ground and was causing it to siphon the water off the machine as it was filling. Oops.

And I found a box to shove in the shelter with Lucy & Ginger for Ginger to sleep in. No more chicken baths, huzzah!

Thurs, Feb 20

Hubby went back to work. Not because he felt significantly better… but because he had no more time off.

We had 50 mph wind gusts. Lucy and Ginger had to go back in with the other chickens because the wind was tearing the tarp off that I had covering their enclosure. Because we have hawks in the area. I eventually remembered that I had bird netting (to protect berries) in the shed. While it won’t prevent a hawk attack, it would definitely complicate one, and so over the second enclosure it went!

And I did more work in the office. Because WANACon was imminent.

Hubby also managed to improvise an old trash can to slow down the water flow from the washing machine into the drain, so it doesn’t flood anymore. MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF LAUNDRY COMMENCED.

It was also the free PajamaCon night pre-WANACon, though I had to run back and forth half the time to help hubby with the washing machine and get the chickens put to bed.

Fri, Feb 21


I had 2 of my 3 moderator assignments on Friday, and also attended three other sessions that same day. So to say that my brain was spinning by the end of Friday would be an understatement.

I also… became aware of a huge opportunity for me that I’m pouncing on, and have been emailing back and forth with someone, but that’s all I’m going to say at the moment because things aren’t set in stone yet. But if everything works out, it’s REALLY AWESOME.

Sat, Feb 22

More WANACon! Had my last moderator assignment, and while I hadn’t planned to attend any sessions before 2 pm my time, I made a last-minute decision to join the Keynote session because there were SEVEN HANDOUTS.

Michelle and Eris can attest to my love of handouts, because they also squealed along with me at OWFI last year when the luncheon seminar we paid extra for had a 27 page handout. We obviously like speakers who are prepared!

But that said, I was in sessions from noon till 7 pm on Saturday.

My brain was spinning at the end of it.

Sent more emails back and forth about the aforementioned HUGE OPPORTUNITY as well. Hopefully I’ll have some concrete news on that in the next couple weeks…

But on to WANACon…

I’m so glad I signed up for WANACon. They had several revision-focused workshops, and honestly I’ve been feeling a bit stuck with Catalyst. This is the farthest I’ve ever made it in the revision process on an actual novel, and so I’ve been a bit… lost. I definitely needed the conference to help me find what I needed to focus on, and I have a lot to work with now. I’m still in the maze, but I think I know how to find my way out now.

I’ll have a better review of WANACon up eventually, but I will say that my favorite sessions were Backstory: How Your Hero’s Past Shapes His Future (by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglusi of Writers Helping Writers)Creating Compelling Scenes & Characters by Shirley Jump, and Simple System to Rock Your Revisions (by Gabriela Pereira of DIY MFA, and Julie Duffy of Story A Day).

And finally, #WriteMotivation…

Sign-ups for the March round are now open.

My February goals are… not coming along well.

  1. Get at least one-third of the way through Catalyst revisions. – I can already tell you now that this isn’t going to happen. I obviously need to revise this goal. Probably something more like time spent than actual progress made.
  2. Get half of personal A-Z Challenge posts written. – Not happening either. Hoping to have them all outlined by the end of the month, rather. Which is in 4 days. Grrrr.
  3. Get all of assigned Ferret A-Z posts written. – I can still do this one. I have 2 of my four remaining blog posts outlined, and just need to sit down and finish this one.
  4. Finish world map for Undoing. – Not happening either.
  5. Start organizing filing cabinet. – This could still happen. I can actually get to the filing cabinet now.
  6. Read at least one writing craft book, and one non-fantasy fiction book. – This could still happen as well. We’ll see.

I hope your February (and your past two weeks!) haven’t been nearly as hectic as mine…

Recent Comments

  • Maria Zannini
    February 24, 2014 - 4:27 pm · Reply

    Holy moley, woman! I’m tired for you! I hope things start to line themselves out for you soon–especially the weather.

    Re: rooster
    Wish you lived closer. I’d give you a less mean rooster to replace that ornery one.

    • Rebekah Loper
      February 24, 2014 - 4:30 pm · Reply

      The thing is he’s really NOT mean. He’s just stupid. He’s only ever rough with the hens when he’s mounting them, and he and Lucy are the only two that will let us handle them without a fuss.

      He just keeps catching them in the side with his spurs while they don’t have feathers to protect their skin, blah. It’s frustrating.

  • Jami Gold
    February 24, 2014 - 7:04 pm · Reply

    Oh my goodness! You deserve a gold star for keeping up with WANACon (and all your moderator assignments) while dealing with all that. *hugs*

    I’m glad it *fingers crossed* has all settled down now. 🙂

  • Leigh Caroline
    February 24, 2014 - 9:09 pm · Reply

    Wow! Sweetie? Weeks like that are VERY valid excuses for just about anything and a bottle of wine/box of chocolates. *giant hugs* As Jai often says, any progress is forward progress. Let me know if you ever need an ear, a hand, or any other body part. 😉

    • Rebekah Loper
      February 24, 2014 - 11:31 pm · Reply

      I feel like my entire life is made up of weeks like that, currently, lol. So far this week has been quiet, and I’m hoping I can knock stuff out left and right!

      I’m thinking I may try and swing a bottle of wine into the budget this week. I have definitely earned it!

      *hugs* and thanks. Sometimes the hardest thing for me when I feel like I’m being thrown under a bus is remembering to shout for help. I think I need to just post a list of names at my desk with the reminder of “these people want to listen to you.”

      • Leigh Caroline
        February 25, 2014 - 6:33 pm · Reply

        Seriously, do it. Wine, chocolate, fresh tea, anything that reminds you to stop and breathe. It’s amazing when it feels like you can’t catch a break, when you can just stop and take a moment to not expect anything of yourself but to relax and enjoy the moment. <3 Put that list on a BRIGHTLY colored postit note, sweetie. It's half the point of having communities and friends. 😉

  • Michelle
    February 24, 2014 - 10:56 pm · Reply

    Wow, your last two weeks have been nuts. Hope you get a nice, long breather after that.

    I’m glad WANACon was so good, though! What exactly did you have to do in order to moderate?

    • Rebekah Loper
      February 25, 2014 - 12:03 am · Reply

      Jami Gold pretty much posted a call for volunteers on her blog, and the info for volunteering was also up at the WANA website. Moderators with wide-open schedules and headsets (vs. using the built-in computer microphone) were preferred.

      For the actual assignments, you pretty much had to be decent at multi-tasking, and willing to talk. And willing to be recorded, lol. It was definitely worth it.

  • helenrj
    February 25, 2014 - 7:35 am · Reply

    Whoa! Lots of stuff happening. Migraine’s are horrible. I take Maxalt MLT (fast melts), and they really nip’em in the bud. I admire you for your love of the birdies. I don’t know much about roosters.
    Can he be de-spurred? (Is that a word?) Good luck on the goals! You will rule March!

    • Rebekah Loper
      February 25, 2014 - 10:27 am · Reply

      Spurs can be removed, but it makes them at risk for infection until it heals, because the concept is basically the same as completely removing one of your fingernails from the bed – spurs do have a blood vessel (quick) that grows inside of them, so you’re causing an open wound by removing the spur.

      You’re also taking away their main defense and since we do have hawks, raccoons, foxes, skunks, and stray dogs and cats around here, one of the main reasons we’ve kept him is for defense.

      So, for now at least, we’ve decided not to remove his spurs. But we do have to keep the hens with naked backs away from him until they’re done molting *sigh*.

  • heylookawriterfellow
    February 25, 2014 - 8:20 am · Reply

    Yowza! What a situation! I’m glad to hear that you’ve (sort of) turned a corner.

    There might bean upside to all of this, however. If you ever decide to sell your house, for example, mentioning that potential indoor ice rink of yours could be a selling point for a hockey fan.

    Take care, my friend!

  • LadyJai
    February 25, 2014 - 10:48 am · Reply

    Wow what a month! Here’s hoping it calms down some, and soon! No worries on crossing *everything* off on your list. Life always seems to step in the way when you least expect it! Hope hubby and Lucy are feeling better!

  • Laura Weymouth
    February 25, 2014 - 1:36 pm · Reply

    My first thought was “I would have eaten that rooster some time ago.” Then I saw you have him for defense 😉 We won’t be able to have a roo when we get chickens this summer because Maggles would love him and try to hug him and give him kisses, but our chickens won’t be free range anyway. Not with a very energetic yellow lab next door!

    What a crazy week. Not having easy access to laundry is THE WORST. Seriously, the thing I was most excited about when we moved was in house laundry. There’s nothing more annoying/inconvenient/mildly embarrassing than lugging your dirty underwear all over creation.

    • Rebekah Loper
      February 25, 2014 - 2:06 pm · Reply

      If you really want a roo, whether for defense or fertilized eggs eventually, hatch a bunch of eggs yourself and hand-raise him, or get ‘im as young as you can! Don’t coddle him, but definitely get him used to being handled and knowing that while he may be ‘boss’ of the flock, you’re boss of him! Just be forewarned that when he hits ‘puberty’, he will challenge you, but once his hormones even out, he’ll become tolerable again.

      We didn’t get our roo quite that young, he was at least 4 months old, but because he was malnourished and half-starved, he wasn’t going through puberty until after he’d put a lot of weight on. That’s when we had to start guarding our toes and *ahem* kicking back.

      • Laura Weymouth
        February 26, 2014 - 1:25 pm · Reply

        Do you find your rooster is noisy? That’s another one of my main concerns–we get along very well with our neighbors and I don’t want a loud rooster annoying them. Because I do really like the idea of having a self-sustaining flock.

        • Rebekah Loper
          February 26, 2014 - 1:34 pm · Reply

          It really depends on the rooster, but ours in general is loud when he crows, but he’s not overly noisy. Does that make sense? We can hear him from inside the house, but only faintly.

          We’re also fortunate that right now we don’t really have any adjacent neighbors. The house next to us and the house behind us are both vacant currently, so we don’t really have any neighbors who can complain. There is at least one other rooster in the neighborhood, about a block down the road, and we can barely hear him.

  • Carissa Andrews
    February 25, 2014 - 1:43 pm · Reply

    Wow! Talk about insanity! And I thought my February was ranking along the crazy side. Hope you’re doing better and good luck getting to your revised goals. May March bring much easier #writemotivation!

  • Jean Marie Bauhaus
    February 25, 2014 - 7:55 pm · Reply

    *HUGS* Sounds like a rough couple of weeks. I hope you’re able to snag some time to rest and recharge.

    I really wanted to do WANAcon this year, but it was just bad timing (seems like everything is always bad timing lately :/ ). Oh well, maybe next year…

  • MAJK
    February 26, 2014 - 1:50 pm · Reply

    Holy crap! Myhead is spinning just reading all that. I understand the migraine – let me know about the salve because I get migraine often too. My girl friend from india suggests tiger balm for head aches but I’ve never tried it. I do use it for sore muscles and it is a heaven send.

    I’m in awe an admiration you managed all you have with so much going one at once! Also I gave you a Dragon’s Loyalty Award http://wp.me/p1PhaM-2o6 You more than deserve it 🙂

What do you think?

About Rebekah

Rebekah Loper writes character-driven epic fantasy featuring resilient women in trying and impossible circumstances who just want to save themselves but usually end up saving the world, often while falling in love.
She lives in Tulsa, OK with her husband, dog, two formerly feral cats, a small flock of feathered dragons (...chickens. They're chickens), and an extensive tea collection. When she's not writing, she battles the Oklahoma elements in an effort to create a productive, permaculture urban homestead.